‘Heart mum’ cares for needy children

THE name Childline may have vanished in Port Elizabeth but the services it offers are flourishing under its new name Uviwe – which means “you are heard”.

Port Elizabeth’s Childline changed its name to Uviwe Child and Youth Services last month and its director, Anna-Louise Olivier, chatted about the changes with La Femme at Cafe Delicia, a tiny coffee shop in Lutman Street earlier this week.

She chose it over other Richmond Hill hotspots because she loves its cosy feel and the sea glimpse patrons enjoy from its sunny tables.

She explained the change to Uviwe over a breakfast of French toast with bacon and honey and a cappuccino, outlining how the toll-free number still works across the country and can be used by children in need of help, and how Uviwe works closely with Child Welfare in Schauderville. The Childline helpline is still in use.

I love working at Uviwe because… it gives me an opportunity to live my life in the best possible way I can – I was in the corporate sector for 10 years but “once a social worker, always a social worker”.

I’ll know I’ve made it when …Uviwe’s doors continue to remain open after the current NGO financial crisis. Sometimes knowing I’ve made it is felt in the small successes along the way.

The person who has taught me the most is …also the person who challenges me the most! My partner Anton van Greunen is certainly my best teacher, critic and supporter.

I’m listening to … the sounds of nature. A Dutch saying has relevance: “verstadig om te versnel”. When I stop hearing the birds and sound of the waves, I know it is time to stop and listen again.

I have a soft spot for … vulnerable children. Interestingly, I am not the “blood mother” of any child (I do not have my own children), but God has given me the opportunity to be a “heart mother” to some children.

I’d love to party with … my family. Nothing beats the “samesyn” (togetherness) with people who know me so well.

When I was 16, I had known … the answers to life’s questions cannot necessarily all be studied through books and courses.

Nothing makes me laugh more than … the cheerful laughter of a child, or my partner singing in the car – and Gino Fabbri’s shows are show-stoppers!

My favourite item of clothing is … a scarf and jacket. My mother once gave me a red winters jacket (“jas”) and in winter time I really enjoy snuggling into my “rooikappie” jacket.

I absolutely hate … bullies and people who enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Uviwe has taught me the real face of poverty, abuse and violence against children and women.

I’m reading … NLP books at the moment. I read 10 books simultaneously.

I am saving to buy … if only I can get to save! I would have saved for a trip to Europe.

I share my life with … people who are optimistic about our country and its possibilities. My partner (Anton), his son (Iwan) and our two labradors are the ones who cope with my 24/7 work routine.They got me to enter the squash league, hopefully I will win just one match this season.

I can’t go a day without … work?

In 10 years I see myself … taking that long-planned overseas holiday and studying the issues affecting children.

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